Best gaming Laptops Under $500

Good gaming laptops under $500 are currently pretty rare. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for a $500 laptop with some 3D capabilities for a game here and there, but there just aren’t really good options under $500 almost never now (it was actually better few years ago). Some models with the Nvidia MX150 GPU are selling for around $550-$600 (please check the $600 listings). I would recommend either going with a used/refurbished laptop from previous generations, like the quite old Dell 7559 (used).

Also, I would advise not getting models with the old AMD A10/A12/FX CPUs (like the FX-9800P), as they are vastly limited in TDP and performance is considerably lower compared to the new stuff or Intel CPUs. The bottom line 3D performance won’t be much better or any better than old generations Intel I5 laptops.

I would suggest waiting for serious competition from AMD’s new chips, like the Ryzen 2200U and 2300U which should be available in cheaper machines, but delivering better 3D performance. Seems like offerings will remains quite limited. We are on the verge of next generation AMD CPUs anyway. The interesting parts, the AMD Ryzen 2300U is not available for a reasonable price.

The situation is quite annoying. For those who like to keep it under 500 no matter what, I would recommend asking here in the comments or posting a question over the forums, and we’ll find something. But, for those who are willing to shell a little more, refurbished models (like the HP 15t) for $550-$600 are available in the $600 listing (linked above).

AllGLJ RecommendedSmall
* = FPS mark based on external benchmarks for same model** = FPS mark based on GLJ benchmarks for roughly similar model

Still no in-depth reviews, but the Acer A315-41 is the first model in the US to be equipped with the AMD Ryzen 2500U APU, integrating the AMD Vega 8. 512 stream processors. For a $400-$500 laptop, this is a bump up in 3D performance.

All details

Still no in-depth reviews, but the Acer A315-41 is the first model in the US to be equipped with the AMD Ryzen 2500U APU, integrating the AMD Vega 8. 512 stream processors. For a $400-$500 laptop, this is a bump up in 3D performance.

As a comparison, the 2500U integrated Vega 8 rivaling the Nvidia GT 940MX  performance level, and that’s only because the 2500U is TDP limited (15W).

As a bottom line, I would suggest keeping an eye for reviews and discounts. Although $500 is a good price for this performance level right now, other matters remain – display quality, HDD speed, keyboard and more. It might be worth it to shell another $100 for an MX150 model with an IPS and SSD.

, AMD 2500U
Keyboard
Build quality
Thermals
3D performance
so-so IPS display

Lenovo Thinkpad E485 is Lenovos’ low end business class laptop, based on the AMD Ryzen APUs (CPU + GPU). Purchased from Lenovos’ site, it is configurable.

All details

Lenovo Thinkpad E485 is Lenovos’ low end business class laptop, based on the AMD Ryzen APUs (CPU + GPU). Purchased from Lenovos’ site, it is configurable.

Recommended configuration: I would not recommend going with the Ryzen 2700U as it is too TDP limited. The Ryzen 5 2500U or 2200U are sufficient for general use. Upgrade the RAM to 8 or 12GB (12GB is more cost effective and also useful) and the display to 1920×1080 IPS.

There are no good in-depth reviews, but a review of the Intel based E480 shows mediocre IPS display in terms of colors coverage and maximal brightness, but good contrast.

Keyboard is of higher quality but not backlit. Noise levels are low. The Intel version has a good battery running times but it’s unclear what is the situation in the AMD front.

Bottom line, for $400-$500 (configuration dependent), the E485 does provide good performance and some business class features (a good keyboard is not common!) and the AMD version adds to that a better 3D performance.

Saying that, you should remember that for $600 gaming performance is much higher, if that’s what you are after.

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Robert Rem
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Robert Rem

Acer has two Aspire 3’s one with Ryzen 3 2200U for 399$ and second with Ryzen 5 2500U for 499$
1st – https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.GY9AA.001
2nd – https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.GY9AA.002

Gaming performance of the 2200U by TechEpiphany on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqqP0uhU2uU&list=PL_sfYUCEg8OgfZ0OP8ZPdkMjVtriOceVn

I think he aded 4gb of ram to 4gb standard for dual channel.

MtheConquest
Guest

There is one laptop, try the 2018 HP Business 15.6-inch HD Touchscreen Laptop PC, Quad-Core AMD A12 Processor up to 3.6GHz, 8GB DDR4 SDRAM, 1TB HDD, Webcam, HDMI, DVD±RW, AMD Radeon R7 graphics, DTS Studio Sound, Windows 10.

Matt
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Matt

Hey Junky I followed your link and came across the hp15t with the gtx1050. This one reads 6gb of Ram tho. Would you still recommend this one above all others in the price range? Thanks!

Junky
Guest

Hi Matt

1. It’s not a link to specific seller or listing, it’s a general eBay search. Sometimes you’ll see other results
2. Yes, better have a laptop with a GTX 1050 and 6GB than a laptop with slower GPU and more RAM. The reason is that you can’t replace the GPU, but you can add RAM along the way
3. What are you looking for?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Hey thanks for the quick response! Yeah, a GTX 1050 at that price point seems unheard of. I’m really looking for a solid budget laptop for school; one with speed but can also handle most games. I like the fact that the hp 15t has a ips display and a pretty fast processor. I’m still looking around, but your links were very helpful. I know you mentioned in your post to wait with new graphics cards on the way. Do you think I should wait or will the gtx 1050 hold up fine?

Junky
Guest

That’s a basic IPS display, not one of the good IPSs
The GTX 1050 is pretty nice, but any specific games in mind?
Also, from time to time there are nice deals. For $600 you might even get a GTX 1050 Ti. Esepcially so close to the end-of-the-year deals

About waiting – well, NV should release new stuff early next year probably, but it will probably take time until you’ll see something interesting for such a budget

What your preferred budget?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Skyrim SE and Halo 5 are a few of my favs. I’m trying to get back into PC gaming tho. My preferred budget is in the 500-600 range, but it is not limited to that. If there is an absolute steal on the market for a gaming laptop, I’m willing to go up.

Junky
Guest

1. You’ll have to watch for a deal – you can subscribe to the mailing list to the right and check other sites too
2. For $600, the most you can hope for now, is a GTX 1050 Ti, but that’s rare

The GTX 1050 is rather nice. Games like Skyrim SE will run well, but the “Ti” variant will improve performance considerably

Matt
Guest
Matt

Thanks for the help and advice Junky. I thought it was pretty rare to find a gtx 1050 for $600 let alone a 1050ti, but that would be awesome as performance does seem to go up quite a bit. I’ll check out the mailing list. I did read your other posts and if I found a laptop like the GP62MVR with a gtx1060 for $750, i think that’s probably worth the extra money, especially when I thought the Acer Helios 300 was the best deal for a gtx 1060 and the price on that was much higher. Hope I come… Read more »

Junky
Guest

The GP62 and FX502VM have a GTX 1060 3GB, not 6GB, but that’s the only difference (unlike with the desktop parts)
I would watch for deals until the end of the year and try and catch something like that

Matt
Guest
Matt

It’s tough to wait reading reviews and watching unboxings on youtube! The struggle is real! Lol. Do you find Black Friday to be the best time to buy a gaming laptop online?Also, I wanted to mention that I have two Benq monitors that I use for multi tasking with school and also gaming. There shouldn’t be limitations with any gaming laptops being able to connect to two monitors correct? I currently connect one via vga and the other hdmi, but it is my understanding that I may need to get an hdmi splitter for laptops that don’t have vga?

Junky
Guest

Many laptops will have only one video out port, usually HDMI. But, some have two and more. VGA is pretty old. Look for mDP (mini DisplayPort) and HDMI 2.0, unless your monitors don’t use these

And no need for watching unboxing videos – no real help there. You know now that you can get a GTX 1050 for $600 and Ti for, say $650-$750 and sometimes GTX 1060 for $750-$800. Look for these!

Matt
Guest
Matt

I’m mainly watching review/unboxing videos of the laptops you’ve recommended :).

Junky
Guest

(-:

Junky
Guest

http://www.ebay.com/itm/362104182258?ul_noapp=true

If you still considering this option. 8GB RAM, not 6GB and for $565

Robert Rem
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Robert Rem
Junky
Guest

You guys in Poland have everything, ha? Haven’t seen it in the US yet

Robert Rem
Guest
Robert Rem

It’s preorder no info when the shipping starts, more interesting how’s this 1040 vs mx150 and gtx 1050. And from benchmarks done by Laptopmedia we can tell new 8gen processors will be awsome i7-8550U just 5-7% below i5-7300HQ in Cinebench
http://laptopmedia.com/highlights/intel-core-i7-8550u-coffee-lake-specs-performance-and-detailed-benchmarks/

Junky
Guest

Thanks

1. Cinebench GPU test is not a good measure for CPU performance
2. It is expected that the new 8th generation CPUs will perform at least as good as the 7th gen I5-HQs in some situations, but as these are a 15W parts, I’m pretty sure you’ll see bottlenecks in some systems while gaming. We even see it with 35W CPUs

Robert Rem
Guest
Robert Rem

True story. But still i would wait for benchmarks from games on 8th i5/i7-u and some mx150 or 1050 maybe volta? and answering on Your first question “You guys in Poland have everything, ha?” mostly, just lacking refugees.

Junky
Guest

If I could pay for lives with a laptop, I’d do it

Yes, better wait for benchmarks. As for the 1040 – it will fall between the MX150 and the GT 1050, but I wonder what will be the prices. Currently in the US you can get a laptop with a GTX 1050 even for as low as $600-$700, and MX150 laptop for $600 (which doesn’t make a lot of sense), so where will the 1040 fit?

Wrote about it here after you told me about the 1040
http://www.glj.io/nvidia-geforce-1040-gpu-mobile-spotted-poland/

Robert Rem
Guest
Robert Rem

The same here. You can get gtx 1050 starting from about 840$ when laptops with mx150 starts from 900$ . 1050 gives best $/performance ratio. Thing is if You want fancy, thin ultrabook You pey more for less

Junky
Guest

In the US i didn’t see special offerings with the MX150, no special ultrabook. The XPS 9560 comes with a GTX 1050

Robert Rem
Guest
Robert Rem

I would love to see new xps with canon lake and volta on board and 4 pcie lanes on thunderbolt 3 that would be great and probably expensive af. (little dell fanboy) They should show some cheep 14′ inspiron for 500 with coffee lake and mx150 even with 768p screen would be nice

Junky
Guest

too nice.. that’s why they don’t doing it

Noah
Guest
Noah

Hi, I was woundeing if there is a laptop that can run rust at around 30fps or higher ….. my budget is $600 Canadian

Noah
Guest
Noah
Junky
Guest

according to some gameplays on youtube, a GT 940MX or a GTX 950M should be enough for 30-50FPS on medium-high settings
You might want to wait for the newer GPUs like the MX150

That’s a relatively good option
http://www.genericcomputer.com/prod_one.php?pid=11473

Noah
Guest
Noah

So the msi laptop is a good choice? Or the one you put the link to better ?

Junky
Guest

The MSI is not a good choice at all